Since their early days during World War II, Reserve Officers have been woven into the fabric of our Department as they serve alongside our officers, with pride and distinction. Reserve Officers volunteer their time while performing many of the same duties and taking many of the same risks as you. With a volunteer force of more than 700 officers, their commitment and service to the community is a valuable asset in our efforts to combat crime.
With April being Reserve Officer Appreciation Month, let us take the time to thank our Reserves for their service to our Department and our communities. The selfless acts they perform everyday are consistent with the proud traditions of our organization. I ask that you join me in thanking our Reserve Officers for a job well done.
20 Year Anniversary of the LA Riots
Twenty years ago this month the eyes of the world were on Los Angeles as civil unrest engulfed our great City. Images of buildings burning, stores being looted, and innocent civilians being attacked by fellow Angelinos are permanently embedded in our minds. It was a dark moment in the history of our Department and our City.
Through that darkness however, we emerged a stronger and much more capable Department. We are now much better prepared to deal with situations, like civil unrest, through specific training which wasn’t available back then.
Perhaps most importantly, our relationship with the community is much better and stronger than it was back in 1992. Your efforts to engage with the communities we serve and foster a relationship of trust and collaboration have taken us to unprecedented heights. Those of you who were on the job back then can also attest to the cultural changes which have improved our Department in many ways.
So as history goes, we must always remember our past but keep our eye to the future. Keep strong our relationships with the communities we serve and continue to foster goodwill through our everyday efforts to protect and to serve.
History of Southwest Area
The Southwest Area of the Los Angeles Police Department was originally known as University Division. The original location was near Jefferson Boulevard and Menlo Avenue which is now part of the University of Southern California campus. At that time, University Division was at the southern edge of the City. Everything south of the divisional borders was open pasture and grassland. University Division was first established in 1905 and its station in 1909.
During the 1970’s, University Division was renamed to Southwest Area and is approximately 13 square miles. It is a culturally diverse community with a population over 165,000 people. The area includes the communities of Baldwin Village, Baldwin Vista, Crenshaw Community, Jefferson Park, Leimert Park, Crenshaw District, West Adams Community, and University Park.
Southwest Area is also home to some of the greatest landmarks in the City of Los Angeles, such as; the LA Memorial Coliseum, Sports Arena, University of Southern California, Exposition Park, Mount Saint Mary’s College, Shrine Auditorium, West Angeles Church, First AME Church, and the Galen Center. Southwest Area has been instrumental in hosting high profile events, such as the Olympics, entertainment award shows, political events, and sport events. Southwest Area is also the proud host of the Annual Kingdom Day Parade, which celebrates the life and achievements of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
Fallen Heroes of Southwest Division
Fourteen Southwest Area officers have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. This is the highest number of officers killed in a single division in the Los Angeles Police Department. Their selfless acts protecting the people of our City cannot be overstated and their loss will live on live on in our Department’s history forever.
Significant Events in Southwest Area
January 15, 1947 – Elizabeth Short (Black Dahlia) was found mutilated. Her body sliced in half at the waist. She was found in the Leimert Park Area. The Black Dahlia unsolved murder has been the source of widespread speculation, leading to many suspects, along with several books and film adaptations of the story.
December 14, 1963 – The Baldwin Hills Reservoir was a water storage basin located on a low hilltop in Baldwin Hills. The water storage was built directly on an active fault line and underlying geologic strata that was considered unstable for a reservoir. In three hours the dam breached, releasing approximately 250 million gallons of water onto the surrounding neighborhood. In the process, 277 homes were destroyed and 5 lives were lost. The rescue efforts averted a greater loss of life. The reservoir is now part of the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.
July 28, 1984, Southwest Area held the opening ceremonies of the Games of the XXIII Olympiad at the LA Memorial Coliseum.
Baker to Vegas
The 28th Annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay is set to take place April 21-22. Many of you have been training for months as you and your teammates prepare for the grueling race through the desert. The miles you’ve run and the time invested have prepared you for this celebrated multi-agency law enforcement competition.
Keeping true to the spirit of competition, represent your Department proudly and give it your best. But most of all have fun. The time spent with your colleagues builds relationships and memories that will last a lifetime.
I also want to give a special “thank you” to the many organizers and members of the support teams who help out during the race. It is not easy making that slow-speed drive through the middle of nowhere and throughout the night. It is because of your unwavering commitment to teamwork and competition, that this extraordinary event can happen and for that reason all of the participants in the run are truly grateful.
Best wishes for a safe and successful race and I look forward to seeing you there and hearing of your triumphs upon your return.
In closing, be safe and always take care of yourself and each other.